EDMONTON, AB - Today, 400 junior high students gathered at Westminster School to officially launch the fifth season of Hockey Helps Kids Charity Cup Challenge. Joined by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Jujhar Khaira, four Edmonton schools are in for what promises to be another fun and high-spirited competition.
Since 2015, Hockey Helps Kids brings together local schools, charities and the Edmonton Oilers to raise funds for local non-profit organizations and engage youth in a friendly competition for a cause. The winning team receives $25,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. The four schools participating in the Charity Cup Challenge this year are Balwin School, Allendale School, Westminster School and Hillcrest School, and they have teamed up with the four Oilers players who will serve as team captains.
Teams for the 2019-20 season:
Team Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Balwin School
Team Leon Draisaitl - Allendale School
Team Darnell Nurse - Westminster School
Team Jujhar Khaira - Hillcrest School
"The Balwin School community values being able to give back to our community and are thrilled for the opportunity to do so through such a great organization like Hockey Helps Kids," said teacher lead Jasmine Derkach. "We are excited to be working with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and hopefully continue his winning streak. Balwin may be a small school but we always rise to the occasion through hard work, perseverance and determination. Go Team Nuge!"
This year will be the fifth season of the Charity Cup Challenge. Team Nugent-Hopkins took gold last year, marking the team's third win in a row, resulting in a hat-trick winning streak.
Last year's winning school, Sister Annata Brockman, was awarded $25,000 for Autism Edmonton, whose mission is to enhance the lives of people on the autism spectrum through knowledge, services and inclusive opportunities.
Hockey Helps Kids was co-founded by Chloe and Harrison Katz, children of Edmonton Oilers Chairman Daryl Katz and his wife Renee. The charity is funded by the Katz family and administered by the Edmonton Oilers Charity Foundation (EOCF). It is a key program for schools to learn about community service in a fun environment.
"I am looking forward to be joining my teammates in this amazing program created by Chloe and Harrison Katz," said new player captain Jujhar Khaira. "The awareness and excitement Hockey Helps Kids brings with it has me excited to start working with the kids and charities."
To determine participating schools, a Hockey Helps Kids panel evaluates submissions from across Edmonton. The panel is comprised of Chloe and Harrison Katz, past student and teacher participants, and EOCF staff.
"Hockey Helps Kids is all about kids helping kids. Kids volunteering and learning new skills and ultimately, kids making a difference in their community," said Harrison Katz. "We are just so excited to be launching Year 5 of Hockey Helps Kids and to see how much this program has grown since we started."
In addition to the winning team receiving $25,000 for their chosen charity, each of the runner-up teams will receive $10,000 for their charities and each school will also receive $5,000 for their participation.
More details on the program, including this year's charitable causes, will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information on Hockey Helps Kids, visit HockeyHelpsKids.com, download the Oilers Mobile App or check out Hockey Helps Kids on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.